Lifelong guidance has been practiced in Estonia for years. Services have been provided for different target groups by different service providers and have also been known by different names – the latest version being karjääriteenused (direct translation in English career services). Content-wise, both lifelong guidance and career guidance are used meaning “A range of activities that enable citizens of any age, and at any point in their lives, to identify their capacities, competences and interests; to make meaningful educational, training and occupational decisions; and to manage their individual life paths in learning, work and other settings in which these capacities and competences are learned and/or used” as agreed by the ELGPN members in 2013 (see on-line Glossary).

Career guidance, standing in three pillars – career education, career counselling and career information provision, is provided by both education and employment systems. Career education is integrated in curricula at different education levels and has a long tradition. However, career information provision and career counselling outside school has been organised differently over the years and been often influenced by resources available.


The Education Strategy 2021-2035, which sets out the key educational goals for the next 15 years, is the follow-up to the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020. The strategy focuses on the key strengths and challenges that need to be addressed to be able to keep pace with changes both in Estonia and worldwide and to prepare the education system and its participants for the future in the best way possible.The general objective of the strategy is to equip the population of Estonia with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that prepare people to fulfil their potential in their personal, occupational and social life and contribute to promoting quality of life in Estonia as well as global sustainable development. To ensure supported learning, we need to continue the development of the career services system and career education at school, including the development of a comprehensive system to discover and develop individuals’ capabilities. We also need to improve continuing training and retraining opportunities to respond swiftly to labour market changes and ensure that people are equipped with the right knowledge and skills for employment.

The strategic goals of the employment policy are covered in the Welfare Development Plan 2023-2030. Main goal is that labour demand and supply compliance will ensure high employment and quality working conditions that support long-term participation in working life.

In 2018, the Estonian government acknowledged that there was room for improvement regarding both access to and the quality of the career services and a reform concerning the provision of the services was launched. Accordingly, starting from 2019, career counselling and career information have been provided by public employment offices under the Ministry of Social Affairs.The role of general education, vocational education and higher education institutions is to ensure access to lifelong guidance for their students and support them in reaching the learning outcomes set in curricula.


In the education sector, guidance is provided as both a part of youth work and a part of formal education. The development of general skills, including career management skills, begins in pre-school education. Children start to discover education, their parents' workplaces and the concept of work and the labour market in general. Children are supported to develop general skills, such as cognitive and learning skills, social skills and self-management skills, which are all essential for coping in education, the labour market and society at large. The development of such skills and competencies is supported throughout the period of study – at all levels of education.

The provision of active and passive labour market measures, including the career information service and career counselling and the payment of labour market benefits, is available through the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund(Eesti Töötukassa, the PES) free of charge all over Estonia.

For more information please see the publication on Lifelong Guidance in Estonia. It was published by the Estonian Euroguidance Centre administered by the Education and Youth Board.


The majority of Estonian career guidance practitioners work in the public employment service (the PES), in educational institutions or enterprises. At the national level, the role of career specialist has been identified in the occupational qualification standard – to help people with their career development and support them in making choices about their career, work, training and education throughout their lives. The professionalism of Estonian practitioners in recent decades has primarily been developed without any specific educational programmes, but instead by courses offered by various training providers (See more here). There is no academic qualification obtainable for the career professionals – most have a higher education degree in social or educational sciences (e.g. psychology, economics and business administration, pedagogy, teacher training). However, the occupational qualification system, including occupational qualification standard, the system of awarding occupational qualifications and register of professions is established to ensure the professional development of practitioners in career guidance.

For more information please see the publication on Lifelong Guidance in Estonia.


Guidance research in Estonia is procurement based i.e. there is no sustainable funding allocated for any national research units and there are several organisations including universities and private companies, which have experience in the field.

A major guidance study implemented in 2021looked at the demand for career services, their accessibility and current usage in Estonia. The study objectives were defined as follows: to determine the level of career management skills in the target groups of career services, plus their expectations and requirements to career services; to assess how helpful career services are in aiding different target groups in making and pursuing their career decisions; to describe how collaboration works in the provision of career services and how the parties rate the career services system and organisation after the career services reform; to put forward recommendations on how to improve and develop career services and impact assessments, based on international practices. See more here.

A recent study launched by Euroguidance Estonia with the aim to find out how learning supports the professional development in career guidance, which training system would create the best opportunities for its development and to create a training model for professionals who support career development.The survey was conducted by a research team from Tallinn University. The report providesan overview of the professionalisation of career guidance in Estonia both in education and employment sector, including training offers in the field and the assessments of practitioners, their competencies and learning needs. In addition, solutions are offered for capacity building in the future.The report is in Estonian, but includes a short summary in English, see page 11 – 14. See more here.


In May 2014 the Association of Estonian Career Counsellors published the Code of Ethics for Career Guidance (available in Estonian).

Last updated at: May 2024